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taifa

a faction or party, as applied to the followers of any of the petty kings who appeared in Muslim Spain in a period of great political fragmentation early in the 11th century after the dissolution of the central authority of the Umayyad caliphate of Cordoba. After the dictatorship of al-Muzaffar (reigned 1002-08), civil war reduced the caliphate to a puppet institution and allowed the various taifas to establish themselves in independent and short-lived kingdoms throughout the Iberian peninsula. There were at least 23 such states between 1009 and their final conquest by the Almoravids of North Africa in 1091. Thus, the Berbers counted in their party the Aftasids of Badajoz, the Dhu al-Nunids of Toledo, and the Hammudids of Malaga, who briefly helped the Cordoban caliphate. The Andalusians, or Hispano-Arabs, were represented by the 'Abbadids of Sevilla (Seville), the Jahwarids of Cordoba, and the Hudids of Zaragoza. The Saqalibah (Slav mercenaries) did not form dynasties but created such kingdoms as Tortosa, Denia, and Valencia

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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